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Original Contribution
March 2007

Normal-Appearing Brain T1 Relaxation Time Predicts Disability in Early Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation (Drs Manfredonia, Ciccarelli, Khaleeli, Sastre-Garriga, and Thompson) and Neuroinflammation (Drs Tozer and Miller), Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, England; and Department of Neuroscience, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy (Dr Manfredonia).

Arch Neurol. 2007;64(3):411-415. doi:10.1001/archneur.64.3.411

Objective  To investigate whether patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis show changes in T1 relaxation time (T1-RT) in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) and normal-appearing gray matter (NAGM) during 2 years and whether T1-RT at baseline predicts disability.

Methods  Twenty-one patients and 12 control subjects were studied at baseline and after 2 years. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) scores were assessed. T1 relaxation time histograms of NAWM and NAGM were obtained in all subjects, and mean, peak height, and peak location of the histograms were measured. Paired t tests were used to compare baseline and 2-year histogram values in patients and control subjects. To investigate whether T1-RT predicted clinical changes, multiple linear regression analysis was used.

Results  Patients showed increases in NAWM and NAGM T1-RT mean and peak location during follow-up, and significant decreases in NAWM and NAGM peak height. Baseline NAWM T1-RT mean values and peak height predicted disability at 2 years, as measured with the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite score.

Conclusion  T1 relaxometry is a good marker of disease progression and has prognostic potential in primary progressive multiple sclerosis.